Aren't Our Lives Happening Right Now?
I was contacted by Mr. Bean (ha!) about the new EP he's releasing this month and he wanted to know if I would review it. I listened to it and replied that I would but this is not the typical record that I nor the No Funeral readers would normally jam. I don't bring this up to be a name-dropping d-bag (Do any of you really care that I know the singer of Blue October?). I bring it up because the central tenet of No Funeral has always been to find "what is good" and not necessarily "what I like." There's a difference between the two.
Yorkshire, England's own Garry Bean plays beautiful acoustic-guitar ballads with a folk bent. His music sounds familiar while, at the same time, it does not fit into any neat, little category. From what I gather, Bean has been playing "professionally" for about a year.
The first and most obvious comparison would be to the late, great ELLIOT SMITH. I suppose another would be JAMES TAYLOR. I hear similar vocals and melodies to those of Austin's own CHRISTOPHER CROSS. I also hear shades of the legendary Manchester bands in the context of the solemn, I'm-coming-down-off-of-drugs-at-6:00a.m. parts those bands tended to produce. Based on that alone, Travis and the Buddyhead Weirdos will probably love it. Exhibit A: Garry Bean's digital single "With Handfuls of Dust and Broken Stone" b/w "Fear Walks With You". Check it out below. Click on the link for a free (official) download:
See what I mean? This is not the typical No Funeral fare.
I guess what I would consider a downside to Bean's music would be nothing but a positive to most people: His music is made for movie and TV soundtracks. I really hope that "Hollywood" doesn't fall in love with him. Bean's songs would greatly benefit from the "Wes Anderson treatment" that the afore-mentioned Elliot Smith received. I shudder to think that "Northern Town" would get played over the closing credits of Grey's Anatomy. Can we all make a pledge, right here, to never let that happen?
Bean's music is very polished, in a good way. It's not studio tricks. It's working those songs until they're "ready." What does "ready" mean? I'm not sure but, whatever it is, Garry Bean figure it out.
You may not dig it but the "normals" will love it. Assuming that you're not dating some beastly, Redwood-like Slipkot fan, your girl is going to love this record. It's the kind of jam that you listen to when you're smoking a cigarette on the balcony of your room at the Holiday Inn when your three-day-long coke binge is winding down and you realize, "Oh shit! I've got work tomorrow!" Then again, maybe that's just me.
2 years ago